Some of the strongest songs this year seemed to be coming from the Balkans, with Serbia, Greece and Turkey putting on strong performances and Romania having solid songwriting. (Serbia's use of Balkan brass got them points in my opinion; it's always good when a country's entry references its local musical traditions rather than merely sinking into the mire of generic power-balladry or Eurodance.) Germany's winning entry was OK, though not spectacular; there was an element of cabaret there, which most of the commentators seem to have missed, focussing on the singer's (not entirely convincing, IMHO) attempts at a Lily Allen-esque mockney accent. Norway, Belgium, Ireland and Belarus fulfilled the quota of syrupy kitsch, and Russia's somewhat ungainly performance scored somewhat of an own goal.
Britain, meanwhile, richly deserved its last place; while Britain is the world's second-biggest exporter of recorded music, its Eurovision entries are invariably lowest-common-denominator dross; even if they recruit commercially proven middlebrow hitmakers like Lord Lloyd-Webber and Sir Pete Waterman, the inherent British disdain for Eurovision as an institution seems to shine through. This year, they seem to have dusted off and reheated one of PWL's offcuts from the 1990s and gotten a plastic-faced 19-year-old to front it.
One thing I have noticed was that few songs' writers' names seem to be typical of the song's country; there seem to be a lot of Scandinavian names popping up, and the odd Anglo-Saxon one (though some of those could be pseudonyms chosen for commercial reasons). Cyprus did one better, by hiring an actual Welshman to front their entry.
* notwithstanding the inexplicable lack of an iPhone-formatted MPEG4 of the Eurovision final. In case you were wondering, Flash video playback on the Mac still sucks.
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